Following a recent multi-million pound redevelopment programme in 2006, Kempton Park was transformed into London’s premier racecourse in the heart of leafy South West London. It’s the only right-handed polytrack all-weather surface in the UK with both jump and flat racing held all year round at Kempton.
Kempton was the brainchild of 19th century businessman, S.H. Hyde, who leased the Manor and Park and set up horse racing meetings in July 1878.
Among its raft of popular race meetings is the King George VI Chase: a Grade 1 National Hunt chase which attracts thousands of visitors to Surrey. Past winners of the King George VI chase include Kauto Star and Long Run, so you can guarantee the world’s best chasers will be entered here.
Kempton’s all-weather surface is not thought to be as fast as Lingfield and Wolverhampton as it’s somewhat deeper, but the course is generally fair to all types of runners. It’s also one of the few racecourses in the UK with the capability to host floodlit meetings in the midst of winter.
The flat course at Kempton is a right-handed oval track with two loops. It’s approximately a mile round, with the outer circuit a mile-and-a-quarter. The National Hunt track is flat and triangular, with nine fences along the circuit with three in the home straight.
Although Kempton is generally fair to most runners, the five, nine and 10 furlong sprint races have a very short run-in, which definitely favours those with the stamina to lead from the front.
GeeGeez says: “There used to be a very predictable draw bias for all of Kempton’s sprint races, but times are changing. Those drawn high in the stalls could struggle against pacey front-runners from the low to middle stalls, but providing your horse can get across and in amongst it early, there is no real bias.
“Kempton’s polytrack all-weather surface ensures races are usually run at a very decent pace, which means it’s essential for your horse to get the distance. The fibresand all-weather surface used at Southwell is considered a more challenging track as it’s a deeper surface, slowing the pace and producing considerable kickback.”
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